Why are more men dying from coronavirus?

Men are more likely to die from the coronavirus than women (Photo: The Philadelphia Inquirer)

You’ve probably seen the statistics by now. In most countries, the number of coronavirus deaths is higher among men than women.

And a study published on Monday by the European Heart Journal has explained why this is. The level of a key enzyme used by the new coronavirus to infect cells is higher in men’s blood than women’s. The Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a key receptor on the surface of cells which binds to the coronavirus and allows it to enter and infect cells, is more diffused in men than women.

The scientists measured ACE2 concentrations in blood samples taken from more than 3,500 heart failure patients, both men and women, from 11 European countries. However, these patients were not infected with the coronavirus-COVID-19.

Adriaan Voors, is a professor of cardiology at the University Medical Center (UMC) Groningen in The Netherlands, which co-led the study.

He said when other research began to point to ACE2 as key to the way the new coronavirus gets into cells, he and his team saw important overlaps with their study.